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Posts Tagged ‘WALT DISNEY’

NO “VICTORY THROUGH AIR POWER” IN IRAQ

In Bureaucracy, History, Military, Politics, Social commentary on August 11, 2014 at 9:02 am

With forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) launching a blitzkreig throughout Iraq, President Barack Obama seems to have caught the “Victory Through Airpower” disease.

ISIS has thrown the American-trained Iraqi Army into a panic, with soldiers dropping their rifles and running for their lives.

This has led Republicans to accuse the President of being about to “lose” Iraq.

As a result, Obama has shipped at least 300 American “advisors” to Iraq to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the American Embassy in Baghdad.

And on August 7 he authorized “limited airstrikes” against ISIS forces in Iraq, to prevent the fall of the Kurdish capital, Erbil

“Earlier this week, one Iraqi cried that there is no one coming to help,” said Obama.  “Well, today America is coming to help.”

By August 10, the United States announced a fourth round of airstrikes Sunday against militant vehicles and mortars firing on Irbil.

Yet giving that order will not alter the balance of power in Iraq.  It didn’t work for America in the 1991 and 2003 wars against Iraq.

Both wars opened with massive barrages of American missiles and bombs.  The 1991 war saw the first use of the vaunted “stealth bomber,” which could avoid detection by enemy radar.

The 2003 war opened with an even greater bombardment to “shock and awe” the Iraqis into surrendering.  They didn’t.

Baghdad under “shock and awe” bombardment

Nor did air power prove effective on the Iraqi insurgency that erupted after American forces occupied Baghdad and much of the rest of the country.

That war had to be fought by U.S. Army regulars and Special Operations soldiers-–especially Navy SEALS.  It was a dirty and private effort, marked by nightly kidnappings of suspected Iraqi insurgents.

Here’s where fantasy became fact for America’s military–and p0liticians.

Victory Through Air Power is a 1943 Walt Disney animated Technicolor feature film released during World War II.  It’s based on the book–-of the same title–-by Alexander P. de Seversky.

Its thesis is summed up in its title: That by using bombers and fighter aircraft, the United States can attain swift, stunning victory over its Axis enemies: Germany, Italy and Japan.

Although it’s not explicitly stated, the overall impression given is that, through the use of air power, America can defeat its enemies without deploying millions of ground troops.

 The movie has long since been forgotten except by film buffs, but its message has not.  Especially by the highest officials within the U.S. Air Force.

Although the Air Force regularly boasted of the tonage of bombs its planes dropped over Nazi Germany, it failed to attain its primary goal: Break the will of the Germans to resist.

On the contrary: Just as the German bombings of England had solidified the will of the British people to resist, so, too, did Allied bombing increase the determination of the Germans to fight on.

Nor did the failure of air power end there.

On June 6, 1944–-D-Day–-the Allies launched their invasion of Nazi-occupied France.

It was the largest amphibious invasion in history.  More than 160,000 troops landed–-61,715 British, 73,000 Americans, and 21,400 Canadians.

Allied air power bombed and strafed German troops out in the open.  But it couldn’t dislodge soldiers barricaded in steel-and-concrete-reinforced bunkers or pillboxes. Those had to be dislodged, one group at a time, by Allied soldiers armed with rifles, dynamite and flamethrowers.

 This situation proved true throughout the rest of the war.

Starting in 1964, the theory of “Victory Through Air Power” once again proved a dud–in Vietnam.

From 1964 to 1975, 14 million tons of bombs were dropped on Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia–-more than five times as many as it dropped in World War II.

Yet the result proved exactly the same as it had in World War II: The bombing enraged the North Vietnamese and steeled their resolve to fight on to the end.

The belief that victory could be achieved primarily–-if not entirely–-through air power had another unforeseen result during the Vietnam war.  It gradually sucked the United States ever deeper into the conflict.

To bomb North Vietnam, the United States needed air force bases in South Vietnam.  This required that those bombers and fighters be protected.

So a force to provide round-the-clock security had to be maintained.  But there weren’t enough guards to defend themselves against a major attack by North Vietnamese forces.

So more American troops were needed–-to guard the guards.

North Vietnam continued to press greater numbers of its soldiers into attacks on American bases.  This forced America to provide greater numbers of its own soldiers to defend against such attacks.

Eventually, the United States had more than 500,000 ground troops fighting in Vietnam–with no end in sight to the conflict.

If American troops once again face off with Iraqis, “Victory Through Air Power” will prove as hollow a slogan as it has in the past.

THE LIE OF “VICTORY THROUGH AIR POWER”

In Bureaucracy, History, Military, Politics on July 9, 2014 at 10:35 am

Victory Through Air Power is a 1943 Walt Disney animated Technocolor feature film released during World War II.  It’s based on the book–of the same title–by Alexander P. de Seversky.

Its thesis is summed up in its title: That by using bombers and fighter aircraft, the United States can attain swift, stunning victory over its Axis enemies: Germany, Italy and Japan.

Although it’s not explicitly stated, the overall impression given is that, through the use of air power, America can defeat its enemies without deploying millions of ground troops.

The movie has long since been forgotten except by film buffs, but its message has not.  Especially by the highest officials within the U.S. Air Force.

Although the Air Force regularly boasted of the tonage of bombs its planes dropped over Nazi Germany, it failed to attain its primary goal: Break the will of the Germans to resist.

On the contrary: Just as the German bombings of England had solidified the will of the British people to resist, so, too, did Allied bombing increase the determination of the Germans to fight on.

Nor did the failure of air power end there.

On June 6, 1944–D-Day–the Allies launched their invasion of Nazi-occupied France.

It opened shortly after midnight, with an airborne assault of 24,000 American, British, Canadian and Free French troops.  This was followed at 6:30 a.m. by an amphibious landing of Allied infantry and armored divisions on the French coast.

The operation was the largest amphibious invasion in history.  More than 160,000 troops landed–73,000 Americans, 61,715 British and 21,400 Canadians.

Allied air power bombed and strafed German troops out in the open.  But it couldn’t dislodge soldiers barricaded in steel-and-concrete-reinforced bunkers or pillboxes.  Those had to be dislodged, one group at a time, by Allied  soldiers armed with rifles, dynamite and flamethrowers.

This situation proved true throughout the rest of the war.

Then, starting in 1964, the theory of “Victory Through Air Power” once again proved a dud–in Vietnam.

Air Force General Curtis E. LeMay said, “We should bomb Vietnam back into the Stone Age.”  And the bombers under his command did their best to achieve this.

From 1964 to 1975, 7 million tons of bombs were dropped on Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia–more than twice the amount of bombs dropped on Europe and Asia in World War II.

Yet the result proved exactly the same as it had in World War II: The bombing enraged the North Vietnamese and steeled their resolve to fight on to the end.

The belief that victory could be achieved primarily–if not entirely–through air power had another unforeseen result during the Vietnam war.  It gradually sucked the United States ever deeper into the conflict.

To bomb North Vietnam, the United States needed air force bases in South Vietnam.  This required that those bombers and fighters be protected.

So a force to provide round-the-clock security had to be maintained.  But there weren’t enough guards to defend themselves against a major attack by North Vietnamese forces.

So more American troops were needed–to guard the guards.

North Vietnam continued to press greater numbers of its soldiers into attacks on American bases.  This forced America to provide greater numbers of its own soldiers to defend against such attacks.

Eventually, the United States had more than 500,000 ground troops fighting in Vietnam–with no end in sight to the conflict.

Now, with forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) launching a blitzkreig throughout Iraq, President Barack Obama seems to have caught the “Victory Through Airpower” disease.

ISIS has thrown the American-trained Iraqi Army into a panic, with soldiers dropping their rifles and running for their lives.

This has led Republicans to accuse the President of being about to “lose” Iraq.

As a result, he has shipped at least 300 American “advisors” to Iraq, to  provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the American Embassy in Baghdad.

And he has authorized American Predator drones to traverse Iraq, keeping tabs on the advancing ISIS forces.

So far, no American aircraft has fired on the insurgent army.  But this could happen at any moment that Obama gives the order.

Yet the giving of that order will not alter the balance of power in Iraq.  It certainly didn’t work for America in the 1991 and 2003 wars against Iraq.

Both wars opened with massive barrages of American missiles and bombs.  The 1991 war saw the first use of the vaunted “stealth bomber,” which could avoid detection by enemy radar.

The 2003 war opened with an even greater bombardment to “shock and awe” the Iraqis into surrendering.  They didn’t.

 

Baghdad under “shock and awe” bombardment

Nor did air power prove effective on the Iraqi insurgency that erupted after American forces occupied Baghdad and much of the rest of the country.

That war had to be fought by U.S. Army regulars and Special Operations soldiers–especially Navy SEALS.  It was a dirty and private effort, marked by nightly kidnappings of suspected Iraqi insurgents.

If American troops once again face off with Iraqis, “Victory Through Air Power” will prove as hollow a slogan as it has in the past.

FASCISTS FOREVER, JUDGES NO MORE – PART TWO (END)

In History, Politics on December 21, 2011 at 1:19 am

If Newt Gingrich becomes President, he has big plans for the American federal judiciary: To arrest and remove all those judges who do not follow his right-wing agenda.

Adolf Hitler laid out his plans for remaking Germany and the world in his book, Mein Kampf (My Struggle).

And would-be Fuehrer Gingrich has openly proclaimed his own dictatorial intentions.

In a December 18 appearance on “Face the Nation,” Gingrich spoke candidly with host Bob Schieffer about his hatred for much of the American federal judiciary.

Schieffer: Mr. Speaker, the old saying in legal circles is that the Supreme Court is not last because it’s right, it’s right because it’s last. There comes a point where you have to accept things as the law of the land. How do you decide, how does the President decide what’s a good law and I’m going to obey the Supreme Court or what’s a bad law and I’m just going to ignore it?

Gingrich: I think it depends on the severity of the case. I’m not suggesting that the Congress and the President review every decision. I’m suggesting that when there are decisions….in which they’re literally risking putting civil liberty rules in battlefields, it’s utterly irrational for the Supreme Court to take on its shoulders the defense of the United States. It’s a violation of the Constitution.

* * * * *

Schieffer: …. Next year the Supreme Court is going to take up Obama’s healthcare proposal. What if they throw it out? Can President Obama then say I’m sorry boys, I’m just going to go ahead and implement it. Could he do that?

Gingrich: The key question is, what would the Congress then do? Because there are three branches….

Schieffer: But could he do that?

Gingrich: He could try to do that. And the Congress would then cut him off. Here’s the key — it’s always two out of three. If the President and the Congress say the court is wrong, in the end the court would lose. If the Congress and the court say the President is wrong, in the end the President would lose.

And if the President and the court agreed, the Congress loses. The founding fathers designed the Constitution very specifically in a Montesquieu spirit of the laws to have a balance of power, not to have a dictatorship by any one of the three branches.

Schieffer: ….And a number of conservatives, including two of George Bush’s attorneys general, Alberto Gonzales and Michael Mulcasey, both said and I’m going to just quote what Mr. Mulcasey said.

….He told Fox News, he said “Mr. Gingrich’s proposal is dangerous, ridiculous, totally irresponsible, outrageous, off the wall, and would reduce the entire judicial system to a spectacle.” Now that’s a conservative judge or a conservative attorney general. How do you respond to that?

Gingrich: I think many lawyers will find this a very frightening idea. They’ve had this run of 50 years of pretending judges are supreme, that they can’t be challenged. The lawyer class defines America.

We’ve had rulings that outlawed school prayer, we’ve had ruling that outlawed the cross, we’ve had rulings the outlawed the 10 Commandments, we’ve had a steady secular drive to radicalize this country away from all of its core beliefs. I mean what got me into this was the 9th Circuit saying that one nation under God is unconstitutional.

* * * * *

On June 30, 1934, Hitler ordered his private army, the SS (Schutzstaffel, or Protective Squad) to purge his other private army, the S.A., or Brown Shirts.  At least 200 men and women were murdered throughout Germany.

Some died by firing squad.  Others were executed in prison.  Still others were shot down in their homes.

Afterward, Hitler appeared before the German parliament, the Reichstag, to justify his actions:

“If someone asks me why we did not use the regular courts, I would reply: At that moment I was responsible for the German nation.  It ws I, alone, who, during those 24 hours, was the Supreme Court of Justice of the German people.”

If Walt Disney were alive today, he might well rewrite the lyrics to “Der Fuehrer’s Face” as follows:

When Der Fuehrer says,
“We’ll win the White House race!”
We heil! heil!
Right in Der Gingrich face.
Not to love Der Fuehrer
Is a great disgrace.
So we heil! heil!
Right in Der Gingrich face.
When Herr Boehner says,
“They’ll never tax this place!”
We heil! heil!
Right in Herr Boehner’s face.
When Herr Limbaugh says,
“Obama’s the wrong race!”
We heil! heil!
Right in Herr Limbaugh’s face.
Are they not the Supermen?
Yes, they are the Supermen.
Super-duper Supermen.
Is their Nazi land so good?
Must we fight it as we should?
No, their Nazi land’s no good.
We must fight it as we should.
They bring the world to order.
The Gingrich world to order.
Everyone of non-Right race
Will love Der Gingrich face
When they bring the world disorder.

FASCISTS FOREVER, JUDGES NO MORE – PART ONE (OF TWO)

In History, Politics on December 19, 2011 at 8:45 pm

Republicans have a love/hate relationship with Adolf Hitler.

On one hand, they repeatedly accuse President Barack Obama of being another Hitler.  They decorate his poster with the toothbrush mustache worn by Germany’s Fuehrer.  They dismiss Obama’s eloquence with: “Hitler also gave good speeches.”

On the other hand, they run candidates whose power-lust and ruthlessness match that of Hitler or any of his henchmen.

Among these in the past have been such notorious figures as Senator Joseph “Tail Gunner Joe” McCarthy, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, President Richard M. Nixon and House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

And now a figure from that past is rising again in a last, desperate grasp for absolute power: Newt Gingrich.

In a half-hour phone call with reporters on December 17, Gingrich said that, as President, he would abolish whole courts to be rid of judges whose decisions he feels are out of step with the country.

“Are we forced for a lifetime to keep someone on the bench who is so radically anti-American that they are a threat to the fabric of the country?” Gingrich asked.

“What kind of judge says you’ll go to jail if the word ‘invocation’ is used? If this isn’t a speech dictatorship, I’d like you to show me what one looks like.”

And appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Gingrich said the President could send federal law enforcement authorities to arrest judges who make controversial rulings in order to compel them to justify their decisions before congressional hearings.

When host Bob Schieffer asked how he would force federal judges to comply with congressional subpoenas, there occurred this telling exchange:

Schieffer: Let me just ask you this. You talk about enforcing it because one of things you say is if you don’t like what a court has done, the congress should subpoena the judge and bring him before congress and hold a congressional hearing.

Some people say that’s unconstitutional but I’ll let that go for a minute. I just want to ask you from a practical standpoint, how would you enforce that? Would you send the Capitol police down to arrest him?

Gingrich: If you had to or you’d instruct the Justice Department to send a U.S. Marshal. Let’s take the case of Judge Biery. I think he should be asked to explain a position that radical. How could he say he’s going to jail the superintendent over the word benediction and invocation?

Because before…because then I would encourage impeachment. But before you move to impeachment, you’d like to know why he said it. Now clearly since the congress has the power.

Schieffer: What if he didn’t come? What if he said, no thank you, I’m not coming?

Gingrich: Well that is what happens in impeachment cases. In an impeachment case, the House studies whether or not, the House brings them in, the House subpoenas them. And as a general rule they show up.

I mean, but you’re raising the core question, are judges above the rest of the constitution? Or are judges one of the three co-equal branches?

* * * * *

The politicizing of the judiciary was one of the major hallmarks of Hitler’s Germany.  Those judges who refused to hand out the types of verdicts Hitler desired were quickly removed.

They were replaced by judges like the infamous Roland Freisler, who chaired the First Senate of the People’s Court, and acted as judge, jury and prosecutor.

About 90% of all defendants appearing before him were sentenced to death or life imprisonment.  The sentences had often been determined before trial.

Between 1942 and 1945, more than 5,000 death sentences were handed out.  Of these, 2,600 were issued by the court’s First Senate, which Freisler headed.

Freisler was infamous for humiliating defendants. Several defendants in the July 20, 1944 bomb plot against Hitler appeared before him.  One of these was Ulrich-Wilhelm Graf Schwerin von Schwanenfeld.

Schwerin, brought to court without a belt and tie, tried to preserve his dignity by holding up his pants.  Freisler mocked him as a pervert for “playing” with his trousers.  When Schwerin said that he had come to oppose Hitler because of “the many murders in Germany and abroad” he was furiously interrupted by Freisler, who finally shouted him down.

On September 8, 1944, Schwerin was hanged in prison in Berlin.

Adolf Hitler laid out his plans for remaking Germany and the world in his book, Mein Kampf (My Struggle).  Newt Gingrich has openly proclaimed his own dictatorial intentions.

Hitler published Mein Kampf in 1925–eight years before he became Germany’s Fuehrer in 1933.

Almost a year before the 2012 election, Gingrich has given warning of his own dictatorial plans for remaking the United States in his own image.

Most Germans who detested Hitler refused to take him seriously–until it was too late.

History will judge whether Americans act more responsibly than their German counterparts.

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